Madeline, Lochness and Hael leave my bedchamber as does Amadahy and Minx. Eventually I recline back on my bed, my head resting on my hands. Sylvan and Thaddeus talk quietly amongst themselves while I wait for them to continue harassing me.
I know out running them was futile so my only options were manipulation and violence.
Oh, sorry, that sounds a bit dark... I mean my only options are communication and firm... curled hand... defences. Yep. Defence. Nothing else.
Despite them being my mates and despite them being so handsome... I was now truly irritated by company. I had been surrounded by Dragons all day and I was born to be a Rogue. It was literally in my genes to despise company.
Thad and Sylvan were still here, discussing on the other side of the room. I could hear it was about my mother, the war and other things like plans for preparation. Nothing about my demise. Nothing menacing. Not yet.
Eventually I sit up and stand, knowing it would be foolish to just leave after they spent so much effort hunting me down. Now, my aim was to make them leave.
I waltz to my fireplace and fuel it with some green coloured flames; my specialty.
Huh, then I remember. I was a half-blood and they weren’t even truly half-bloods; as Amadahy so irritatingly pointed out. I liked to think they were lesser but now they were apparently greater. Mage blood crossed with Dragon for an ultimate sort of combination.
Eventually I look over my shoulder; the twins are still discussing.
My eyes turn to rest on the special bolted down, metal door within my chamber; which used to be a part of Hael’s bedchamber. The huge secure room used to house treasure within it, I believe... but now it was empty.
Except for one lone item I remember being left behind.
I waltz over and spin the lock, a few clinks sound as the door swings open. So I head in to explore inside.
Such a small narrow but long cavern with little hooks on the walls for tools or something similar.
Eventually, my eyes rest on the one thing remaining.
An iron stick with two dragons for the shape at the end. Madeline’s brand came from this iron stick.
Smirking to myself I lean down and pick it up, letting my fire encase the handle and the ends.
Perhaps I wasn’t going to be the one getting branded today.
The iron is hot and bright as I waltz back out into my bedchamber.
However, I drop the branding stick out of my disappointed palm, which has quickly lost the interest to grip it any longer.
...they’re both gone.
I frown and turn to kick the branding stick back inside. Then I close the metal door and lock it. When I turn around, I half expect them to jump from behind a rock and surprise me.
Nope. The room is still empty. I had just been craving to be alone, so I should be ecstatic. Except, I feel the exact opposite. I’m strangely irritated as I whip off my clothes and pull back my covers, curling into the covers and staring at the flickers of light across the ceiling.
“Assholes...” I whisper to myself, closing my eyes and falling asleep after an exhausting day and night.
The next day starts off very humble, if somewhat sorrowful. News had finally spread that a war was coming, so mortals and Dragons were both happy to be together but also weary that the fight wasn’t over for peace.
I went for an early morning flight and recovered my gift from Lochness after much searching. Once I returned, I decide to wander by myself for a while, wearing a flattering black dress, tight all the way to my knees, so it accentuated my breasts, my waist and my butt. Then, slowly and eventually I reach the Playroom for the girls, to find them all emitting sad and depressed thoughts. I’m about to enter but all I do is read their minds – and once I receive the information, I step away from the door and keep walking.
Ginette really hadn’t come back... she died in battle. Talon was captured by the Tempest Breeds and never recovered. So, she was also, either dead or enslaved.
The reason I avoid the girls is because they would all be crying and cuddling; which if you hadn’t already guessed, wasn’t my thing. I decide to deal with the grief of their loss, on my own. I go to the spring baths at the base of the mountain, to spend time there on my own.
As I walk engrossed in my own thoughts, I barely notice the Dragon warriors, dressed in battle gear and heading out to a day of training; led by Thaddeus and Sylvan.
I only notice them when I get close enough. I stop to acknowledge their existence but they almost keep on walking, until Thaddeus steps out of line, turns and meets my gaze, hurriedly.
“Dinner, princess? Eight O’clock, Guest Room 12,” Thaddeus asks so politely, I’m left standing there a little shell shocked.
The warriors all stop as Thaddeus waits for my reply.
Sylvan also steps around and catches my gaze.
“Hey, Luvenia,” Sylvan raises a hand, in a... in a... high five? He comes up to me and I awkwardly raise my own hand to tap it to his, gazing at him suspiciously as he decides to speak, very loud and clear, “We heard what you said, sweety... just friends, right?” Sylvan looks over his shoulder to Thaddeus who had been looking over my breasts a little too intense... but he quickly lightens his dark amber eyes.
“Exactly, let’s talk tonight over raw steak... just as friends,” Thaddeus agrees, shrugging.
“Oh and one more thing...” Sylvan starts to walk backwards with Thaddeus, leaving me dumbfounded in the corridor, “...Minx is having a sleep over in your bedchamber tonight with her friends! You’re welcome to stay over in ours, if you need a bed... or couch,” Sylvan is very graceful as he smiles and turns.
“Friends!” Thaddeus turns around and gives me the thumbs up, playing along.
“Sounds perfect!” I yell out, begrudgingly my reply comes out extremely forced and... wrong.
I watch them leave... like I was so easy to bypass.
I turn around and head towards the spring baths, with a shiver of annoyance rolling through my spine. I scowl as I head off, why was I so annoyed? Just as I’m about to enter the spring baths, I see Amadahy and Ethne walking out together, both with freshly braided hair and light flowing dresses.
Minx is no where to be seen. Perhaps the princes weren’t lying about Minx having plans.
“Princess!” Ethne is so glad to see me, and Amadahy is sheepish.
“Where’s Minx?” I ask, getting straight to the point while glaring at Amadahy.
“Uh...” Ethne starts to explain but decides not to as she glances at Amadahy, who narrows her eyes and decides to be forceful.
“She’s sleeping over in your room tonight with her friends, got a problem? Suck a dick, or two, whatever you’re into,” Amadahy shrugs and quickly continues on with Ethne who is trying hard not to outright laugh her head off.
“Did you conspire with the two princes?” I ask, without glaring after them. I see from the corner of my eye that they turn and Amadahy winks at Ethne when I glance up, “Minx doesn’t have friends.”
“Oh, she does,” Amadahy exclaims, “They’re having a sleep over in your bedchamber as it’s big enough for all of them. She’s going to tell horror stories about mortals who eat Dragons or something like that.”
“Sounds terrifying,” I reply, but even as I do, she already turns with Ethne and they link arms, laughing together about my clearly planned demise.
Not just by the princes, either. I was starting to think everyone was in on it.
I suck in a breath and make my way to the baths to think. Everyone had a plan, so far I wasn’t sure exactly how it was meant to work. All I know is I can’t find out unless I do go to this proposed ‘friendship’ dinner tonight.
So, I spend the whole day, irritated. I bathe, I search for Lex unsuccessfully, I search for Lochness with no luck and I end up sitting on top of the rough rocks of the Requiem mountains.
I sit on a chilly boulder and watch as Dragons in the distance practice flying formations, diving techniques and skilled wing movements to practice their speed with stealth moves.
Thaddeus and Sylvan are easy to spot, they were the cobalt and midnight scaled dragons that were double the size of the rest.
Typical, obvious, leading breeds. Instead of recruiting for their new Horde, they were instead busy training while I watched with my human eyes. All day until the sun starts to descend. Even when it’s night and they all return, I hide behind a boulder and keep my cover.
Night rolls in and I’m still on my lonesome, carving stupid, meaningless pictures into the boulders with sharp rocks.
“...suck a dick... or two... whatever you prefer,” I mimic Amadahy for the thousandth time, cutting my palm in the process with the sharp rock, “Argh. Stupid rock!” I throw it off the side of the mountain.
“Owie!” I hear a frustrated, girly snarl and then I watch in shock as lifeless, bloodied body comes flying over a boulder... landing next to me. I shuffle away, grossed out by the surprise.
“Minx,” I growl, “What the hell?”
I watch as the purple headed child, dressed in a rag for a dress, comes scuttling over the corner of a boulder with an arm in her mouth that she’s chewing. She spits it out, grinning with blood in her teeth.
“Heart stopped,” she taps her heart twice, “Free food,” she points to the ravaged body of an old man. He has bite marks on his leg... older marks... and they’re blacked by poisoned blood.
“Heart stopped from old age, huh?” I ask and she quickly nods, “Or the venom you injected into him when you bit him earlier today?”
“Heart stopped!” she points out again, literally ignoring my accusation, “Thank you, princess! I’m so happy!” Minx jumps forward as I’ve stood and she wraps her arms around my waist.
I pat her on the head and then she jumps away and picks up the arm she spat out, bringing it with her as she jumps down the mountain.
I stare at the emaciated, dead slave and I try to feel thankful for her... gift... but I feel sort of gross. I never grew up eating mortals, as some Dragons did for sport when they terrorised villages. Being a half-blood meant that it would sort of be cannibalism if I even tried.
So, I burn the body with my fire, not keen on angry slaves possibly starting another rally for Minx to be thrown out. There had already been multiple petitions. Each failed by Amadahy’s sly words.
Once that’s done, I decide 8pm must be close by, so I slide down from my position and make my way to my bed chamber. As I pass through, I see my bed full to the brim of girls, Minx’s age, keen on her horror story show.
“It’s not real! I swear!” Minx tries to convince them the arm she is holding is fake. I’m about to ignore it but I can’t. It’s too gross and it’s on my bed.
I stalk my way over and take it from her before she sees my hand reaching for it.
I throw it in the fire, to quickly see tears well up in her eyes.
“Princess, why?” Minx asks, extremely close to balling.
“No biting, remember?” I warn her and she pouts. I shake my head and walk out, feeling disgusted and in awe of how a little Dragon could be born, genetically, a sometimes loving psychopath.
I’m still wearing my black dress and now it’s a little bit covered in blood but I don’t care too much.
I simply walk to the Guest Rooms, specifically room number 12. I kept saying it over and over today in my head. Thinking about it too much.
Which is what my issue was.
I was impossible to satisfy. Showing sexual interest? I became defensive. Showing no sexual interest? I became defensive.
Even I was perplexed about my own state of mind. How to conquer such a paradox?
I eventually halt outside the guest room and I knock on the door twice, clasping my hands behind my back, I wait for one of them to let me in.
“Come in!” I hear Sylvan slyly invite me to join them. I roll my eyes and grab the door knob, letting myself in. When the door swings open, I see they’ve got hold of a luxurious two four-poster bed line up. Two huge fur covered couches and a large fireplace; larger than mine.
Sylvan is reclining on one couch, a hand behind his head, grapes in his other hand, popping them into his mouth. Thaddeus is on the floor, an arm on the couch behind him and his head back as Sylvan throws up a grape every now and then to see if it will fall into Thaddeus’ mouth.
They hardly acknowledge me as I come into the room.
Only until I stand for a full minute while waiting to be acknowledged.
“Welcome, welcome,” Thaddeus raises a hand and curls two fingers without even glancing at me.
“What are we having for dinner –?” I ask, quietly and confused, until Sylvan cuts me off.
“Here comes three!” Sylvan throws up three grapes and Thaddeus quickly moves to catch all of them in his large, gaping jaw. They’re acting like a bunch of kids.
I cough, loudly in my fist and cross my arms over my chest. Thaddeus chews on his grapes and slowly turns his head to watch me. Sylvan also drops his grapes onto the platter of fruit on the coffee table.
Now, as silence descends, Thaddeus is chewing those grapes and my insides are finding it strangely sexy. Sylvan sits up and slides a hand through his midnight hair – which I also find strangely sexy.
“Funny fact,” Sylvan raises a finger, “Girls get horny before their period. Funny fact number two – Amadahy said, you haven’t bled for three weeks.”
“Are you pregnant?” Thaddeus asks, raising his brows at me, “Or are you... just on time?”
“The cycle is closer to 4 weeks, not 3, you idiot,” I snap, only to have Sylvan raise his eyebrows and reach for some berries.
“So it’s a week before,” Sylvan sheepishly adds – clearly I fell into their planned, lame ass trick.
“How did Amadahy know this and when did you all become such close friends?” I ask, raising a brow and casually walking closer.
“It’s just an interesting fact, princess,” Thaddeus adds, “Although I shouldn’t call you princess because Amadahy is one too, so... you’re not exactly special anymore.”
“Damn right, we’re all friends here, anyway. So, nothing special about Luv... nothing special about us, either,” Sylvan shrugs his shoulders and I eventually drop to my knees before the coffee table, reaching out to grab a piece of fruit.
“Let’s talk then,” I try to change the subject, hoping we can all speak and interact... without threats of exclusion or sexual freaking harassment.
Not that having them sandwich me between them was bad or uncomfortable. It’s just... oh, and when Thaddeus’ hands ran over my breasts... briefly... that was one of my favourite moments. Replaying that.
“Luvenia...” Sylvan leans forward, catching my gaze, “I asked you a question.”
“What? No you didn’t,” I pick off a grape and pop it in my mouth, while the twins share an amused look.
“He said,” Thaddeus explains for me, “How was your day?”
“Oh, what? Okay,” I shrug – I must have been so caught up in my thoughts, I didn’t realise, “It’s been...a good... chill day.”
“Must have been, watching us all day from the tallest point of the Requiem Mountain range,” Thaddeus speaks, casually. I almost blush, until I realise that wouldn’t be playing into the friend role.
I don’t know why it takes me this long to realise it.
But they were going to break my cold resolve, by drawing out the friendship-banter, to see if I would break under pressure. Mates, in reality, didn’t take rejection well.
I suppose that works both ways.
“...they smell it too,” Sylvan ends his sentence, a sentence I half didn’t register.
“They smell what?” I ask, and Sylvan smirks and reaches forward to grab more berries.
“Where is your mind at, sweety?” Thaddeus asks me, “He said –”
“Male Dragons, of any breed, in their early prime years – can see when a female is horny... they can smell it, too,” Sylvan growls this last part at me, and I end up blushing and blinking really quickly.
They both go quiet and I pretend to cough into my hand again.
“Well, it really was chilly t-today,” I try desperately to change the topic, “Please tell me fruit isn’t the only thing for our dinner. What happened to... raw steaks?”
A few moments pass... they’re not listening. Again.
“We should just be straight forward,” Thaddeus ignores me and raises his eyebrows once towards me while speaking to Sylvan, “Just tell her.”
“No, we said... argh, fine, you’ve ruined it anyway,” Sylvan turns to me and his eyes trail down to my breasts on their own accord as he thinks, “...we have a deal, for you.”
“The thing is,” Thaddeus eyes me too, “You’re dripping wet. We understand your need to... be a Rogue. But even Rogue’s love sex. We don’t have to brand you straight away, Luvenia... but your aching to be filled; and we have cocks that have a need to fill you... so let us... for one night... fuck you.”
“Pretty please,” Sylvan adds in a dry, humoured tone. Like he is extremely impressed by Thaddeus’ honesty and can’t wait for my reaction.
Every bone in my body wants to react, badly.
Instead I try, very hard, to keep my cool.
“How, um, thoughtful. But no, thank you,” I let this out and gulp, wondering why a weird sense of disappointment hits my gut.
They were being so kind, so open and normal and... strangely friendly.
Yet I was hating this side of them.
Twin Leading Breeds didn’t beg, ask or entertain. They took, ruled, and commanded. Without a hint of lenience.
I literally gasp then, as I realise something about myself. I anxiously reach for a grape and I almost squeak when Thaddeus reaches out and quickly clamps down on my wrist, stopping me.
“What did you realise?” Thad asks, his playful tone completely void.
“My thoughts are sealed, how the hell, did you read them?” I ask, putting on my go to cold-ice queen attitude.
“You’re half Dragon Slayer, I think I know how to penetrate your pretty little head, sweety,” Thaddeus shakes his head in disbelief and Sylvan reaches over and puts his hand under mine, grabbing a grape and teasing me because I’m a hairs-breath away but Thaddeus was... was...
He was holding my wrist.
And it shouldn’t be turning me on this much.
“Luv, you were simply about to think about your realisation, but I already know what your thoughts are,” Thaddeus explains, letting my wrist go, I clasp it back to my chest, watching him with vulnerable eyes.
“Enlighten me, then,” I offer him to explain and he almost laughs, half-scoffing as he glances at his brother and then at me.
“Darling... you’re in denial,” Thaddeus starts off, gently, but slowly getting more and more firm and cruel as he plainly states, “You don’t want easy natured, compliant, generous mates. You were born to be mated to two Dragons Lords. We were born to have a compliant mate... not necessarily compliant in here...” he taps his head, “But compliant with our needs. You’re tiny, sweetheart, half-human and barely a Dragon. You’re enraged because your human emotions are strong. You have a weak will. You have a Dragon body, yes, but it’s nothing impressive. Your mortal body, is what was enhanced by your father’s magic. You’re stunning, absolutely gorgeous... but you call yourself a Rogue... except there is one problem with calling yourself that...”
“You’re not a Rogue,” Sylvan takes over, “You’re mortal. A Dragon form gives you a sense of power. But truly your mind, heart and soul are mortal. I’ve also seen in your head... it’s always so astounding, because unlike complex Dragon brains, the way you think is equivalent to a mortals simple thoughts. Especially your mother. It’s identical. Your idea that you are a Rogue is self-imposed. You idolize your biological father, Lochness, so you strive to be like him. The truth is, Luvenia. You’re hardly a half-blood. Everything about you is mortal.”
“I have extremely powerful mind reading abilities,” I snarl, countering his argument with my aggression.
“Um. Nope,” Thaddeus tries not to laugh, “You have a melded Mortal-Dragon wave-length that allows you extended access to certain thoughts. Your ability to cancel them out, is weak. Your fathers made you believe it’s strong, to help calm you when you had panic attacks as a child from all the overwhelming thoughts –”
“How do you know this?” I ask, completely confused while also on the edge of tears. Reminding me of my panic attacks as a child hit a sore nerve.
“We have been informed,” Sylvan explains, “In fact, we knew for a long time. However, there is something tragically cruel in telling someone they are living a lie.”
“It’s not tragic because you’re an idiot. I am a Rogue. I am powerful. I am a Dragon. I am not a mortal. I am good with a sword. I will not allow you two to discredit me completely. I don’t even understand the meaning of this conversation, it doesn’t make any sense –”
“You are beginning to realise your mates are the ultimate Dragon Lords... Tempest Breeds... extremely powerful,” Sylvan explains, “We are built for battle. Our minds are made to command. Our hearts are made to sing to us the truth about our mate. Something you do not have about us.”
“Humans mates are never equals to Dragons, whenever they are paired,” Thaddeus explains, “They’re slaves, they prefer it, because they know their place. They know how inferior they are. They know exactly what is expected of them. It’s not negative, it’s natural.”
“We’re not saying you maybe might like to ‘try’ submitting to us as mates,” Sylvan adds, raising a brow, “What we’re saying is that you literally crave it with every ounce of your mortal blood and bones.”
“You’re always angry because you live a lie, and you’re trying to be a tough, Rogue, when you’re not, Luv,” Thaddeus shakes his head, “Hael said to you, go out, be Rogue, come back when you find out what it’s like... you know why? Because he knows you’re not built for it. He knows you’ll come back when you understand –”
“All I understand is you’re trying to strip me of my identity,” I stand up, gasping in a breath, I can’t even look at them as I turn to leave. I stagger my way out, my insides feeling weakened by their words.
My eyes are extremely watery.
My heart aches.
My stomach is flipping.
Everything, everything they said was... it was –
Argh. I felt sick.
I felt so, so sick.
Because, they weren’t wrong.
Neither were they half right.
They were dead onto the treasure, and I felt like I had been opened up and had my insides spilled out onto the cave floor for Minx to have her pick of her favourite organ.
My whole life, I had tried to hide how vulnerable I was. With extreme uncalled for anger, with delusions of my grand mind reading abilities... not to mention, Hael never put me in that top bedchamber because he wanted to spoil his daughter with a beautiful bedroom.
He made me that room to protect me.
Because I was a half-blood, even Dragon Slayers were technically mortal with gifts only awarded to them through the Sprites – not by blood. It’s why Darren, Mason’s twin and my other uncle, wasn’t born directly into the lineage. It wasn’t a blood thing but something entirely different.
Mason and Madeline were picked.
Lex, well, he was granted white fire.
Except two Hybrid Tempest Dragon Lords – who saw right through my façade and right to my real, basic core of my mortal moulded identity... with a few special gifts. But none that outcompeted the other Dragons in this Horde.
I was simply the half-blood princess Luvenia, and I was extremely vulnerable, because I wasn’t what everyone expected me to be; a powerful heir? Hardly... and I had lived my life pretending I was.
I had never truly loved my mother and the way she was treated, not because I feared what she had with my fathers. But because I secretly related to it. I craved that loss of control, to let someone else rule... someone worthy... someone or two.
Generally it wasn’t considered right and people didn’t understand it.
I didn’t understand how to live with it, it’s the last thing anyone would expect of me.
I did anything to pretend I was the exact opposite.
But now Thad and Sylvan were trying to show me that I didn’t have to hide.
I find my feet taking me towards the one woman who will help me understand it better.
I go to my mother and I’m hoping for answers... or wisdom... or both.