It’s such a scenic view, what lies beyond Remus’s bedroom. In the years I’ve been on this Earth, I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t know how long I’ve been standing here, but I can’t tear my eyes away from the glass as I take in the large waterfall that crashes below. My gaze travels up to the edge of the crested hill where the sun is slowly sinking behind the mountainside, casting an orange glow over the land.
The sun didn’t look like this in the blight.
“Iris, move away from the glass.”
I tense when the sound of Remus’s voice carries across the room. I whip around to see him entering and move towards the edge of the bed with my eyes down. I hear the sound of his footsteps as he walks around me, not bothering to acknowledge me past his reprimand.
It took me two whole days to heal from his soul-sucking. It was a terrifying and painful experience I never want to feel again. The situation itself adds to the growing list of questions about the Leviathan race. But it does reignite the fear I feel for him. I’ve seen him very little during my recovery time, which is ok with me. The last thing I want is for him to get any ideas around me. Especially since he can make my body do what he wants just by touching me.
He chooses this moment to come up next to me, placing something on the bed.
“You can move,” he says. I let out a relaxed breath, slowly raising my eyes. I’m not a fool. Remus seems to be a very powerful and calculating being. In the past months, he has laid out his expectations and given me corresponding punishment if they aren’t properly adhered to. I know that he is preparing me for something. But for what, I have no idea.
I don’t bother looking at him, but to see what it is he’s placed behind me. I furrow my brow in confusion.
It’s a beautiful dress. The dress is white with jewels that look like diamonds encasing it. The sleeves are long and elegant, but the length of the dress looks like it would fall to my thighs.
Remus takes a seat next to the dress looking up at me. His emotionless eyes roam over me adding to my unease. I’ve never met such a strange being. He’s like a statue. He never smiles, never speaks, and hardly moves. He’s obviously inhuman, but it’s still unnerving and downright terrifying to be in a room alone with him even if I am aware of his true nature.
He gently tugs on my arm pulling me into his lap. I keep my eyes trained on his chest, but my heart rate is already giving me away just being near him. He uses his hand to guide my face to his. Staring into his eyes takes my breath away. The color is entrancing. I can barely bring myself to think straight.
His eyes drop to my lips and I feel the cold splash of reality hit me. Fear comes at me in full effect as I recall his... feeding.
Remus seems to sense my emotions. The corner of his mouth slightly upturns. If I weren’t so close to him, I would notice it. He leans into me, his lips lightly pressing against my shoulder. He places a soft kiss there before moving closer to the base of my throat. His lips latch onto the sensitive flesh and I let out a soft gasp as intense coils of pleasure spark from that spot. I feel the warmth of his tongue moving in a circle on the skin eliciting more pleasure. Against my better judgment, I release a shuddering breath, arching my throat.
I feel the hard press of Remus’s erection straining against his pants as I squirm atop his lap. His hands roam over my body until he is pulling me flush against him, a deep growl of approval emitting from his chest.
“Can you feel that?” he murmurs against my throat.
I don’t know if he’s referring to himself or my own arousal. I’m so lost in my growing need that I nearly jump out of my skin when the sound of a loud beep assaults my ears. Remus places a soft kiss against my shoulder, his laugh wafting over us.
“Time to prepare.”
After fighting with the servants, and Remus’s threats, I am eventually cleaned and dressed for what I’m assuming is a special event. The tight material of the dress feels foreign against my skin. It feels softer than anything I’ve felt before like it’s going to lift off of my flesh at any moment. I keep tugging at the hem of the dress in fear that it will ride up higher than my thighs.
I look up as Ruth approaches me with diamond encased shoes that have a small heel on them.
“The master has chosen these for you to wear tonight.” I stare at her in shock.
I tilt my head trying to look into her eyes, but I can’t from this angle. Her head is lowered, focusing on my feet.
“Ruth?” I whisper. She doesn’t respond.
“Ruth, can you hear me?” I whisper hastily.
“She can’t respond to you unless I will it.” I jump at the sound of Remus’s voice as he enters the room.
My mouth runs dry at the sight of him. He’s dressed in regal attire I can assume. He’s wearing all white which strangely adds emphasis to his own hair. The top of his clothing has a high collar and a cape latched around the front. Even his hair isn’t pulled back all the way. He has it in a half-up style with a jeweled pendant that holds it into place.
Wherever we’re going, it must have something to do with society. It has everything to do with my training as well.
“And her name isn’t Ruth,” he says shocking me out of my ogling. I mentally slap myself. I completely forgot that I named them myself. Of course, he would find fault with that.
Remus walks towards us, and Ruth moves before he has to utter a single word. He takes her place and finishes fastening the shoes around my feet.
“You will be on your best behavior tonight,” he says. His eyes don’t leave his task, but he doesn’t have to look at me for me to know how serious he is at this moment. After a moment, he finally looks at me.
“Remember the rules, and things will run smoothly. Defy me, and you may very well get yourself killed.” I flinch at his words.
Remus isn’t one to make idle threats as I’ve come to learn living in his care the past few months. He stands and I expect him to walk away but he doesn’t. He pulls out a crystallized choker. It would pass for a choker if we were normal, and I hadn’t seen these before.
On the center jewel is the same symbol that Remus has on his body. It looks beautiful, but I recognize it for what it truly is.
It’s a collar.
For the first time since he told me to consider myself broken, I feel a flame ignite inside of me. All the resentment I’ve kept stashed away for the sake of survival comes rushing to the surface. I narrow my eyes at him, and I know the moment he sees my rebellious spirit.
“You’re fucking crazy if you think I’m putting that on,” I snap.
Remus doesn’t move. He doesn’t speak. He just stares me down. Then, his eyebrow raises ever so slightly, and I see something flash behind that purple gaze. Something dangerous.
He reaches towards me, and I do my best to stand my ground. His hand brushes across my collar bone lightly then trails to the low collar of the dress. He silently loops a finger underneath the fabric and yanks me roughly into him.
I cry out stumbling into his chest and he takes the moment to capture me with that intense gaze.
“I’d rather not get blood on such a lovely dress.” His gaze drops to the dress, taking in every stitch and embellishment, genuinely admiring the fabric as he considers whether or not to stain it with my blood. He then raises his gaze to meet mine and I can see the blue flecks within the purple burning bright.
In my time with him, I’ve come to learn Remus’s tells. The blue in his eyes should never burn brighter than the purple. That’s a very bad thing. He stands over me, knowing that I am waging war within myself on whether or not to battle him.
“Do not push me, Iris. You will not like the result.”
We stare each other down and I can feel my resolve breaking. Crumbling. I try and keep my brave façade, but the pure aura he radiates breaks me down with ease.
Would you stand tall in front of a firing squad? Would you stand your ground against a bear? A lion, maybe? Remus is more dangerous than all of those combined. I know it, he knows it, and the instincts I was born with sure as hell knows it.
He has the choker around my throat before I can blink, and I feel a sudden heavy weight fall over me. I watch in shock as a light blue stream of light radiates from the jewel of the choker to his palm.
His eyes raise to meet mine.
“You will be on your best behavior tonight, Iris.”
He walks away from me, and I can feel the heavy weight that’s come over my body compelling me to follow. I have no willpower.
Anger and resentment find their way into my heart as I follow behind him and we make our way to our destination.
The resentment I felt only minutes before has morphed into sheer awe as I take in the city beneath us. Cars are a thing of the past for the Leviathan empire. They use strange machines that hover in the air to transport themselves to and from their destinations. It’s just another way of proving how behind humanity was when it came to advancements.
My stomach dips as the ship begins its descent to our destination. My eyes widen as I take in the massive building we’ve begun to approach. From the outside, it looks intimidating. The walls are high and made of a beige material that takes on a more organic shape as opposed to the rectangular buildings I grew up with.
I take note that our descent doesn’t lead us to a parking lot or the front of a building, we come towards one of the walls of the building that opens upon the ship’s approach.
A soft gasp leaves my lips. The floor lights up with a beam of light blue directing the ship to its own hangar within the building. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
I shift my gaze to Remus, and he is watching me with an amused expression.
“You are easily impressed,” he says eyeing me.
“How can you not be impressed with all of this- ”
My words catch in my throat when I turn to face Remus to find him inches from my face. His intoxicating scent washes over me stealing away all coherent thought I had. A small smile tickles the corner of his mouth.
“You haven’t the slightest clue, what more there is in this existence to be impressed with.”
It’s hard keeping up with Remus. Especially when my attention is occupied by the surrounding scenery. I’ve only ever seen the outside of buildings that were in ruins; buildings that were created by humanity. And even still, they don’t compare to the elegant walls surrounding me.
The sound of other voices pulls me out of my ogling, and I look up to see that we’re approaching what I can only assume are Leviathan. I take them in silently behind Remus. They’re speaking a language that’s foreign to me, but I recognize the pattern as the same language Remus spoke when he first laid eyes on me in the blight.
The man speaking to Remus is dressed in formal clothing. His outfit has sleeves and embroidered accents on it. His hair is cropped, his eyes dark, unlike Remus. I’ve only ever been around Remus, but I see no comparison in their race as I take in this Leviathan. The gaze of the Leviathan speaking to Remus travels towards me, and I immediately drop my eyes remembering Remus’s very clear warning.
The choker around my neck is a light reminder of the command he holds over me. The weight that I felt when leaving Remus’s dwelling has all but disappeared, so I can only assume that Remus is relying on my obedience at this point.
They speak for a little longer, their tones suggesting it’s a pleasant conversation. The Leviathan speaking to Remus bows slightly before turning away from Remus and I immediately drop my gaze once again. I keep my eyes down as I hear the sound of Remus approaching me.
“Good girl,” Remus’s voice washes over me with a hint of mockery causing my anger to flare up.
“We will be entering the banquet hall now. I expect nothing but good behavior from you, Iris.”
I hear the sound of horns flaring followed by what I can only assume is an announcement in the Leviathan language before the large double doors before us open to reveal the magnificent hall.
Applause washes over my ears before anything else. It’s deafening. The people are truly excited about the arrival of Remus. It screams of his importance in adding more pieces to the puzzle. He isn’t a random citizen of the Leviathan society. He has to be someone important.
Remus steps into the room and I follow keeping my head down. While keeping my head down, I raise my eyes slightly to look around as we pass through. Everyone is bowing to Remus as he passes. Not only that, but Remus and I seem to be the only people in white at this clearly formal affair.
The applause doesn’t stop as Remus makes his way through the room. Even when we reach a floating beam that carries us up a flight of stairs. Once we reach the top, my eyes widen as realization dawns on me. It all makes sense now. The applause, the announcement, the bows, and especially the large throne that Remus is making his way to.
Remus turns to face the crowd, his eyes grazing over the room with authority and arrogance. His gaze passes briefly over me before he faces the crowd, holding his hands up to silence the applause. He opens his mouth, and a speech begins.
His voice is calm yet firm. Gentle yet authoritative as he speaks to his people in his native tongue. He’s clearly in command. I look past him to all the Leviathan watching their leader with smiles on their lips and looks of awe in their eyes. They’re taken by Remus’s presence as well. They adore him. They truly listen to what it is he’s saying to them, pleased with whatever it is he is that leaves his lips.
From this high up, I can keep my head bowed and my gaze steady as I look at the beings below. I was right. None of them are wearing white. Only Remus and me. Remus is also the only one with white hair and from what I’ve seen so far, purple eyes as well.
I look back to Remus, my confusion bubbling.
Just what exactly is he?
Applause erupts pulling me out of my thoughts just as Remus comes back towards the throne. He takes his seat, and the party resumes in full swing. Soft music plays as chatter erupts and the crowd begins to turn to one another, their attention leaving Remus.
“I can see the gears turning in your head, Iris. Speak your mind.”
I look down at Remus. He’s watching me with a strange expression, his hand propped under his chin as he takes me in. He reads me so easily and yet I have no idea what is going on in his mind.
“Your society... is color-coded?” I ask.
“How very clever you are.” His smile widens and he lightly pulls at the fabric of his shirt while he explains the rules of his society.
“The white is a sign of nobility. My nobility to be more specific. I am the only one who wears it,” he says.
I take in the society consisting of Leviathan. They’re laughing, enjoying each other’s company. Some brought their human slaves with them. To boast no doubt about their place in society. I can tell the humans apart with ease. They wear inhibitors, their gazes as blank as Ruth’s. It makes my heart ache. It’s despicable. I turn my gaze on Remus who is looking out over the crowd with indifference, completely blind to the sick display before him.
“How can you live with yourself?” I hiss. Remus looks up, gesturing for a server.
“Calm yourself, Iris.” He says it so low I’m surprised I hear it.
“The sooner you come to grips with your position in this society, the easier your life will be. There is nothing you can do for the human race. Remember that. You can’t even do anything for yourself.”
I narrow my gaze but keep my mouth shut nonetheless as a member of society comes to greet Remus. His words stab at me. He’s right. I couldn’t protect anyone in the blight. I couldn’t prevent myself from being caught, or even escpae once I was in his grasp. I am as helpless as the humans that wear inhibitors. The only difference is, my mind is my own to wallow in my own self pity.
The night drags on, and more Leviathan arrive to greet Remus, each of them bowing before approaching and taking care not to touch him at all. Not one of them speaks English as well, they all speak in their native tongue offering toast after toast to Remus who politely smiles. He never drinks though. He only gestures with the glass.
As I take in the rest of the room, I suddenly realize the Leviathan are eating food. I swiftly look at others to make sure my observation is correct. They’re holding small plates with food on them, even the servers walk around with more than just drinks.
The final visitor bows to Remus, taking his leave down the steps when I decide to voice my question.
“I thought you said your race doesn’t eat like we do?” I ask.
Remus smiles. He actually smiles while keeping his gaze trained ahead.
“I never said my race, pet. Like I said earlier, I am nobility.” His tone suggests the discussion is closed. Each time he answers anything about himself, he only opens more questions. I let out an irritated sigh looking back over the crowd as I’ve been all night.
I focus on Levithan after Levithan, watching each of them interact with each other. They smile, familiarly, enjoying each other’s company while they’re at it. I focus in on a conversation that seems to be happening and a Leviathan is presenting his human captive to his friend. My heart stops in my chest when I see her. It’s Leah. One of my girls. The girls that Remus said were all dead. Her gaze is vacant, meaning she must have an inhibitor on. All of my fear blows out the window as a newfound feeling of hope is planted in me. She’s alive.
One of them is alive.
I take a small step forward, something that I know Remus notices, but he is occupied with another one of his people that has approached him. I take another small step, testing him to see if he’ll stop me, or if he can even control me in the face of his duties, but I am still met with no resistance. All of my reluctance and hopelessness is gone. Now instinct possesses me. The need to talk to her, to touch her, hug her... anything.
My feet are moving before my mind has a chance to stop me or think of the consequences. I take off down the steps as desperation claws at me. I ignore the sounds of the gasps and shocked conversation that rises as I stimble down the steps, my balance completelty off. I hit the ground, pushing through the crowd in a panic.
All that matters is Leah.
“Leah!” I shout, trying to get through the bodies.
“Leah!” I try again. My legs are pumping as fast as they can, no other thought than reaching her filling my brain. I finally see her standing with a blank expression behind what I can assume is her master.
Tears brim my eyes the closer I get. For the first time since my capture, I feel joy. I crash into her, wrapping my arms around her body. She’s warm. My hands fly to her face, forcing her to face me. The pupils of her eyes are extremely dilated.
“Leah, please!” I scream her name hoping that somehow, someway she’ll hear me. Even as I try and drag her away through the crowd, she refuses to acknowledge me, her legs firmly planted. I reach for the inhibitor, planning to rip it off of her.
“It’s me, Ir-Ah!” I cry out in pain as I’m roughly pulled away from her. To my shock, it isn’t Remus that is doing so. It’s a Leviathan. He’s snarling something at me, his gaze narrowed, and his hand raised ready to strike me. I squeeze my eyes shut waiting for the pain to reach me, opening my eyes when it doesn’t.
Remus is standing over the Leviathan, his hand locked in a death grip with Remus. Remus towers over this Leviathan easy, his expression holding something I’ve never seen before. Rage. Murderous rage. A loud crack fills the room followed by the Leviathan’s scream of pain. People gasp, and I faintly register that everyone has stopped to watch the drama unfold.
Remus grabs the Leviathan by his shirt, pulling him in close as he growls something in their native tongue, causing the being to turn visibly pale. Even I shiver from his tone. Remus lets go of the Leviathan, shoving him so hard that he stumbles landing on his ass, his arm bent at a strange angle.
Remus turns to me, and even though he’s dressed in all white, he looks pure evil. He reaches for me, and I immedaitely back away letting my rage fuel me.
“Don’t touch me! You’re despicable! All of you are! You’re all wrong for this enslavement! We have every right to the freedom that you have!” I screech. Remus quickly snatches me off the ground, his hand wrapped around my arm like a vice.
I don’t know where my sudden burst of bravery comes from. Maybe it’s from all of my emotion I’ve kept tamped down out of fear. Or maybe, it’s from seeing Leah. A stark reminder of the horrible past we’ve all endured and shared as a result of this invasion.
I look Remus directly in his eyes, letting my adrenaline-fueled rage fuel me.
“You can try all you want, but you will never break me,” I hiss.
Silence washes over the room, everyone in attendance stopping to watch how the scene plays out. I keep my brave façade, even as Remus gives no sign of an emotional reaction. Then, as if a switch has been flipped, he smiles. He drops me letting me step back from him, his eyes still focused on my face as he slowly steps around me.
“Maybe I can’t break you...”
Horror washes over me as I realize the direction of his footsteps.
“But...,” Remus grabs her roughly, bringing her in close to him.
“I can...” he pulls the silver dot away from her temple and her dull gaze leaves, her pupil shrinking as consciousness finds its way into her mind. Her gaze meets mine an instant before Remus finishes his sentence.
“Break her.” With that final word, her roughly shoves her to the ground, all amusement gone from his face as he brings his foot down on her leg. The loud snap fills the room as does Leah’s cry of agony.
“No!” I scream reaching for her, but Remus holds his hand towards me, and my body is pushed back by an invisible force. He leans over her, grabbing her arm in his, and with a swift squeeze, crushes it. Leah screams and begs for mercy, my cries mingling with her. But Remus ignores the both of us, seeming to enjoy himself.
Remus’s purple gaze meets mine, freezing me in place.
“Shall we go for her neck next?” he asks mockingly.
“No, please! Please!” My screams are filling the hall louder than anything else in the room as his hand lightly caresses her throat.
“Please! I’ll do anything!” I scream finally catching his attention. He stops what he’s doing, looking at me, mulling over his final decision.
He finally stands, making his way towards me. As he walks past me, the blue beam connects to his palm, and I feel myself being pulled out of the room. I don’t have the time to look back at Leah. I can’t check on her. I can’t even lie to her and tell her everything will be ok. Leah was the one that we could count on when it came down to it. She was always ready for combat, always tough. And now, she sits in the center of a Leviathan infested room in complete agony because of me.
Remus drags me out of the hall and into the hallway with me screaming for Leah the entire way. He finally gets tired of my cries, picking me up and roughly smashing me into the nearest column. I grunt in pain from the force.
“You seem to lack the mental capacity to understand the situation you have created for yourself, so let me refresh your memory.” His eyes seem to burn brighter with every word he speaks.
“Regardless of your wishes, you will do as I say. You are here because I pulled you out of that wasteland, allowing you to serve me. Not the other way around. You belong to me, Iris.”
I hear the sound of another Leviathan on the other side of Remus, and he drops me, responding to them. He glares at me one last time before whipping away from me.
“We are leaving.”
We are back at Remus’s dwelling, the night far from over. His room is dark, only the soft glow of the lights within the walls illuminating it. My bones are vibrating both in anger and fear. I try my best to hold onto the anger as Remus walks into the room.
I want to kill him. I want to break his limbs like he did to Leah’s. But I know that Remus is far from anything I’ve encountered before. I think back to that moment at the banquet. When I went for Leah he didn’t even touch me and my body was propelled back by an invisible force. It reminds me of the day I met him in the blight. Something similar happened, but I just assumed it was because he was so fast.
I look up to where he is across the room. His eyes are focused on his task. He’s removing his clothes. He starts with the cape that wraps around him, tossing it on the chair, and then begins to remove the items that are wrapped around his arms.
His gaze meets mine.
“What am I to do with such an ill-mannered pet?” he asks. He begins walking towards me as he pulls his shirt off, leaving him in only a pair of pants.
“I thought we went over the rules. I thought you understood.” He almost sounds disappointed as he reaches under my chin, lifting my gaze to meet his.
I suck in a shuddering breath as he searches my face.
“Did you mean it, Iris? Will I never truly break you?” he asks.
His voice is strangely soft adding to the terrifying aura he exudes at this moment. I think of Leah and Margot and all the other girls that could be alive and struggling somewhere within this empire. Even the women that are here in Remus’s care, under the spell of inhibitors. I use the rage to fuel my bravery, looking Remus in the eyes.
“I... will never... obey you,” I whisper out of spite. I regret it the moment the words leave my lips. Remus’s gaze turns dangerous. I just challenged him. And he accepted it.
His thumb runs over my cheek.
“Such a hot-tempered mouth from such a feeble being,” he says mockingly. I jerk my head out of his grasp, raising my fist to his face. He catches my hand easily, his gaze narrowing.
“I think I’ve overestimated you...”
He squeezes my hand, causing me to flinch in pain. I cry out as he pushes me back onto the bed. His arms hold mine between his with ease, pulling them over my head as he crawls over me. I can feel my heartbeat thundering against my chest at the drastic dynamic shift between us in a matter of seconds. His grip tightens causing me to flinch in pain, but it doesn’t faze him.
“You’re just like the rest of your pitiful race, believing you are entitled to something when you are not. Slavery is in your DNA; it’s what you were created for,” he growls. I grit my teeth in irritation, unable to move my arms from his steely grip.
“Fuck you!” I cry out, thrusting my head up, colliding with his own as hard as I can. Stars dot my vision, a splitting headache immediately washing over me. I fall back onto the pillow, blinking furiously trying to still the sudden spinning room.
When my vision finally clears, Remus is watching me without a scratch on him. His head is completely clear of bruising as if I hadn’t just head-butted him. His expression is dark, the pupils in his eyes dilating slowly. I expect him to break my arm like he did to Leah, but he does the exact opposite.
His free hand snakes up through my hair pulling roughly on my strands, forcing me to expose my neck for him. He leans into me, and I can feel the heat coming from his body as he places a warm kiss on my throat.
His lips are soft, like rose petals. He continues to lightly press kisses along my throat before his kisses turn into sucking. He pulls my flesh between his teeth, lightly nipping at the skin. I begin to struggle, trying my best to break free as my body reacts to his attention.
A dull ache begins to throb between my legs, and I can feel my nipples beading beneath the fabric of the dress. Horror washes over me at my body’s reaction to him. I recognize this feeling. It’s lust. I’m feeling lust for him.
“No...,” I let out in a shaky whisper, grasping Remus’s attention.
He pulls away from me, a smile on his lips and something sinister in his eyes.
“You don’t seem to grasp the difference between you and I... you have grown exceedingly bold, in a matter of hours... It is time to show you your place in this society. In my society.”