Part 2 Chapter 27
Caitlin’s POV (Chapter 28, Prince Xavier, Book 3)
I end up having a nap and falling fast asleep, only to wake up hours later to a loud noise. I don’t know what it is because I wake up slowly only to find that I am alone and worried about Abbey and how she is settling in. I get up, still dressed in the blue dress Xavier asked me to wear - although now it was slightly crumpled.
I put on some silver flats that match the dress and decide to go exploring to find Abbey.
However almost as instantly as I walk out into the hall, I watch vampires and humans rushing by towards the throne room.
Forgetting about Abbey for the moment, I decide to follow everyone and see what is happening.
Indeed, they are all heading to the throne room as I wind down the corridors with them to see everyone crowding out the front, cheering and some people crying.
I decide the noise that woke me up from my nap must have been the emergency speakers making an announcement which I had missed. Only something like that could explain everyone rushing here so swiftly.
I quickly push through the crowd when I hear the King’s voice echoing in the throne room. By King I mean the King King. Not Xavier. Something had happened for sure. The only thing I kept on overhearing in the crowd was ′she’s back’ over and over again.
Who was back? I come closer to the front of the crowd, but it’s hard to see when I’m shorter than most people here. I’m so focused on making my way to the front I don’t even notice passing Jennifer and Darrius and his brother’s and Claudia until Xavier literally steps in front of me and I barge into his chest.
He grabs my waist and steadies me, a humorous look on his face as I look up to make sure it is him and not a crazy vampire that has decided to take advantage of me.
“Phew, it’s just you,” I sigh in relief, I can’t help myself.
“Don’t ever look at me like that again, sweetheart,” Xavier growls, “I’m not going to hurt you, come,” I’m a little shocked again when I hear the gentle tone in his voice. It was a little hard to take considering he was usually so cold and blunt.
He grabs my hand and pulls me to the very front where I can see and he puts an arm around my waist as he holds me very possessively in front of everyone else, pulling me back against his chest. I almost don’t even notice the King standing with a grey old woman next to him up near the thrones.
He is telling the crowd to calm down and helping the old woman sit down on one of the thrones.
“What’s happening?” I whisper to Xavier, looking up over my shoulder at him. He looks a little tense but mostly happy.
“That’s my mother,” he says, “She’s back.”
“Oh!” I turn around and look more closely at the old woman. I recognise her when I look more closely. Yes! This was the Queen!
“The Queen is alive!” The King chooses to start speaking at this moment and the crowd cheers some more, “My darling, darling Xeria.”
I feel Xavier’s arm tighten around me a little at the King’s endearment to the long lost Queen. At least he wasn’t insane anymore, he was cured obviously. Which meant he was human.
“Relax,” I mutter under my breath, knowing Xavier will hear me.
“Don’t tell me what to do,” he growls back at me, close to my ear and I can tell he is a little touchy at the moment. His mother meant a lot to him and he hated his father.
“I don’t know how she came here, or why she is alive, I’m just glad she is,” the King continues, “She is obviously sick and unwell from whatever happened to her but I am going to make sure she gets the best of care and bring her back to full health!”
This was really a heart-warming welcoming reunion. Up until the point I realise something about the queen that looked so familiar.
She looked just like Abbey.
The same condition.
Both supposed to be dead, but having the power to be walking and moving despite this.
“She is the love of my life,” The King goes on, and the more he does the more tense Xavier seems to get behind me, “I’m so glad she is back. I also want to announce that there will be no one leaving or entering this palace until we secure ourselves again. Many of us are now human, there are more mortals in here than vampires at the moment and we won’t be opening our doors until we are strong once again. The next 24 hrs I’m putting this place into lockdown. In the mean time I will be speaking with my council of close friends and not my son’s, about the future of this palace. Let me just say, Xavier... Darrius...” the King looks down at us directly, his tone dropping, “I’m disgusted by your behaviour recently and rebellious son’s will be treated as such - with no respect until you find a way to redeem yourselves. Johnathan, you may join me in a discussion after this. You are the only son I trust at the moment.” Everyone goes silent and there is a tense moment as Darrius and Xavier both glare up at the King.
They just lost a whole lot of influence in this palace by being spoken down to in that way by their father in front of everyone like that.
“We saved this palace from ruin,” Darrius snarls, interrupting the King’s speech as he continued.
“Silence,” the King snaps back, “You will refrain from speaking back to me, understand? I am in charge here. Everyone thank you for coming to see the return of my wife. Please feel free to stay and welcome her back.”
He shuts down Darrius quickly and efficiently and there wasn’t anything Darrius could counter that with as the king changes the topic back to the return of queen Xeria.
Everyone starts to mingle and I quickly turn to look up at Xavier to see him looking shut down emotionally, thinking deeply inside. I see Darrius, Jennifer and the other’s turning to talk to each other but I decide to take Xavier away so I can speak to him in private. To help give him some space from everyone. He looked like he needed it.
I grab his hand and I tug him gently away into the crowd towards a wall on the other side of the throne room where I can speak to him. He follows me and stops with me by the wall, a look of vulnerability shining through in his eyes.
“I don’t think there is a way to help my mother,” he admits, speaking first.
“For one, do not take what your father says so personally,” I reply, feeling more confident that I can lift Xavier’s mood, “Secondly, I can help your mother. I know how to save Abbey and the Queen...” I lean up to whisper in his ear the next part, “And if you are so damn worried about not being King, you can use my knowledge as a way to bargain your way to the top, am I right?” I lean back when I am done suggesting my plan.
It wasn’t much of a plan, I admit, but I hope Xavier will find the humour in what I am saying and lighten up a tad.
“You think I am frustrated my father is once again ruling?” Xavier asks rhetorically, “The old, arrogant, impulsive, controlling idiot?”
“Sounds like someone I know, maybe you inherited more of his genes then you realise -”
“I am nothing like him, he hurt my mother,” he growls, and I just give him a raised eyebrow.
He hurt me too.
Xavier looks offended as he sees my expression. He reaches up a hand, grabbing my chin and narrowing his eyes as he leans down towards me.
“Do not judge me any further, Caitlin, I have avenged what happened to you and I am planning to clean your body of all your scars,” he says quietly, his lips very close to mine, hovering over them as his eyes scan my face up and down, “It’s the least a good master should do for his loyal slave.”
I remember to breathe when he abruptly pulls back as a hand is placed on his shoulder, getting his attention. Without looking over his shoulder, he rolls his eyes.
“Darrius?” Xavier asks, still looking at me like he wanted to kiss me but was annoyed he was interrupted.
“You have a lot of explaining to do, Xavier,” Darrius says, dismissing my presence as Xavier turns to face him, “Talk to me.”
Jennifer approaches me as Xavier and Darrius go off to talk alone.
“How are you feeling, Caitlin?” Jennifer asks, coming up to me and giving me a hug.
“I have mixed emotions, to be honest... I’m actually struggling with a hard decision,” I admit and Jennifer crosses her arms over her chest.
“Try me,” she says, “Nothing you say can shock me.”
“I know how to fix the queen and my sister - because they are in the same condition.”
“I noticed that!” Jennifer blurts out, “It’s so strange! And I can’t believe she is actually back when she should be... you know...” she doesn’t say the full sentence, looking confused as everyone else in the room.
“She was brought back from the dead, but not fully,” I tell her, “There is only one way to save her and Abbey.”
“Which is?” Jennifer looked curious for the answer but she wouldn’t be happy when I told her. I hadn’t even told Xavier but I had to tell someone to get it off my chest.
“Jennifer, you won’t like the answer. If we want to fully bring the queen and Abbey back to life we’ll have to find two people similar to them in age and appearance... and we have to murder them.”
When Caitlin tells me we have to murder two people to save two others, I just pull back and frown. I instantly thought...
“Darrius and Xavier will not hesitate to do such a thing,” I tell Caitlin, “Although I would hesitate, and I’m sure you would too. I don’t understand why everything has to be so complicated... tell me, how did you find out this information?”
“I did some research...” Caitlin looks hesitant to explain fully to me, “A witch told me. What happened to Abbey and the Queen was through dark magic, through a ritual only half complete.”
Witches... and maybe fairies. Eddrick, after all, brought Abbey back to life the way she is now. I don’t tell Caitlin this however, weary of Ross’ warning. I couldn’t tell people Meredith and Eddrick were fairies without people snooping around to find out exactly how I came to that conclusion. I couldn’t give Ross away, he was putting his trust in me and I was very fond of that fact.
“We should have a meeting with everyone to tell them how to save the queen,” I suggest, “Should we go grab Xavier and Darrius and tell them? I can get Claudia and Johnathan in on it as well. We can figure something out.”
“Maybe we should give them time first to talk to their mother... she has been missing for so long after all,” Caitlin nods to the right and I look over my shoulder to see Darrius and Xavier with their mother, along with Johnathan and Claudia, “I also want to check on Abbey, would you like to come?”
“Okay, that sounds like a good idea,” I agree and we walk together through the crowd of humans and vampires. For once it seemed the humans were outnumbering the vampires and I get a rush of deja vu.
It is only for a moment but I also feel feelings of aspiration, enlightenment... purpose. This was what the prophecy foretold. One line sticks with me, all supernatural beings will be under threat of extinction.
This throne room was the mini version of what would or might occur all over the world. Simply from my blood mixed with one evil fairy’s blood.
It boggles my mind to think about it as I walk out into the hall with Caitlin, into the quiet.
What if supernatural creatures were wiped out because of me?
“Did you see that person?” Caitlin asks me, dragging me out of my deep thinking as I look at the ground as I walk.
“What are you talking about?” I ask, turning to see that she has a serious look of suspicion on her face.
“Someone I didn’t recognise just passed us at the end of the corridor and paused to stare at us before moving on,” Caitlin says, “It was really weird, the way he just looked at us, the way he looked at you...”
“He is probably just a new human at the palace learning to be a slave,” I shrug it off, until Caitlin stops walking and shakes her head.
“I don’t have a good feeling about this,” she admits.
When I look forward once more down the hall I see a guy walk by wearing a formal black suit and black tie, speaking on his mobile phone. He is out of sight as he walks into the other corridor.
“Was it that guy?” I ask Caitlin, feeling slightly worried now that things were getting eerie.
“No,” she whispers, “But I don’t recognise that person either, we should go back. I know every face in this palace, they could be...” she grabs my arm to turn me around but her eyes widen and I turn to see what has got her so spooked.
I spot one man and a woman, in suits, walking very quickly towards us.
Glancing at them one might think they were just typical residents of the vampire palace in this city. However they looked too formal, like they were trying too hard to fit in.
“Run, Jennifer,” Caitlin whispers to me but my eyes are focused on the male walking towards us, he is wearing black glasses and his hair is a different style but he looked... he looked... strikingly similar... to Darrius.
Surely I was hallucinating or Darrius was playing some cruel trick with me.
Or I was seriously delusional.
Either way I heed Caitlin’s advice and I turn to run with her down the hall to the other side.
A few strides taken and two more men round the corner, blocking Caitlin and I from going anywhere.
“Who the hell are you people?” I ask as they literally block us in, silently, without speaking or uttering a word.
The woman standing next to the man that looks like Darrius, takes out a gun from her halter hiding in the back of her black skirt and she calmly points it at Caitlin.
“You ready to come with us without a word, princess?” She asks me, “Or do you want to make this harder for all of us including yourself?”
“Don’t shoot her,” I snap, my eyes can’t help but keep shooting back and forth between the gun and then the guy whose face was seriously distracting me with its familiarity.
He is staring right at me and a smirk slowly spreads across his face as he notices how distracted I am with his face.
Caitlin grabs my arm with one hand, glaring at me as I am so easily distracted from the threat literally pointed in her face.
"No! no,” I blurt out, “I’ll come, I’ll come. Don’t shoot her, please,” I plead to the woman with my eyes. Her hair is so tightly pulled back, it is a dark thick brown straightened style and it matches her hardened gaze.
“We’re taking both of them, no witnesses can be left behind,” she snaps at the three men and I recognise she must be the leader of whoever these undercover people were, “Let’s go, quickly. Not a word from either of you, understand?” She snaps at me one last time, “Or I’ll blow both your brains out, I don’t need either of you alive.”
I look to Caitlin then back to our kidnappers, glancing at all of them, trying to figure out who they are as two of them reach in and grab me and Caitlin. The Darrius look alike walks around us and walks ahead, showing us the way without saying a word.
The uptight woman stays behind us, pushing the gun into Caitlin’s back as one of the men drag her with us.
“Two minutes, boys,” she says to all of them, “If we aren’t out by then we’re dead. Let’s move it.”
Then suddenly it hits me.
Supernatural creatures didn’t usually resort to guns.
These were human.
Which meant they were probably working for the government... or perhaps for I Eddrick.