Part 2 Chapter 32
“I thought the palace was secure,” I snarl at the young vampire that had been placed to watch the security cameras while Leah and Owen had some time off. And of course, just as my best in security were taking a break there is another damn infiltration!
“I’m sorry I didn’t notice at first,” the young vampire refuses to meet my eyes, I didn’t doubt he felt intimidated for interrupting my family reunion in the King’s office, my brothers also watching on. The King didn’t want me and Xavier to join the reunion after we locked him up, but when my mother asked for us to be here, my father surprisingly reconciled and gave in. The King and Queen now listen on thoughtfully... well, at least my mother does.
“The infiltrators looked like any of us, Darrius,” the young vampire whispers, “Except they kept on walking down the same corridors multiple times, like they were scanning then they... they... um...” he trails off, going red in the face.
“Tell me now,” I snap, needing to know what information he had to tell me. After all, this infiltration had happened hours ago, and he had noticed only now, “What did they do here that we don’t know about? Did they plant cameras? Weapons? Tell me.”
“Please don’t kill me when I tell you!” The young vampire drops to his knees before all of us, head still bowed, and he gushes out the next part, “The princess and Xavier’s slave were walking together and encountered the infiltrators who kidnapped them on sight and took them from the palace, approximately 2 hours ago.”
I was not expecting to hear this.
I assumed Jennifer and Caitlin had gone off to talk and relax together when Claudia noticed them head off together from the main celebrations in the throne room.
“Would you like to repeat what you just told me?” I ask, tightly, right before Xavier steps forward and grabs my shoulder, holding me back from the young vampire.
“Tell us the way they got in and out so we can secure it immediately,” Xavier snaps, reaching past me to grab the boy’s arm and pulling him to his feet, “And get off your knees, it’s useless trying to beg, you will be punished for your failure at not recognizing the infiltrators soon enough, but still, you have not told us who they were. Werewolves? Witches?”
“I-I’m actually quite certain that they were, h-human,” The vampire shakes beneath Xavier’s gaze like he wants to run any moment.
“How do you know this?” The King inputs, now curious himself but also on the verge of anger. He hated it when humans got the better of vampires.
“They were slow in movement when leaving with the girls, a lot slower than most supernatural creatures, they definitely weren’t vampires or werewolves. Witches, perhaps... but I doubt it.”
“If they were humans, then they were most likely the government. The same people who kidnapped Darrius and Jennifer last time at the wedding,” Johnathan inputs, calmly. Always the calm one, even more so now that he was still human.
“A wedding?” Xeria speaks up this time, curiously looking up at me with her soft eyes. I meet her gaze and nod, and I see her smile sadly, “I... missed it. I’m... sorry.”
“Yes,” I nod at her, looking at my father and then back at her, seeing how just with her presence here, the King was more mellow, “And now the love of my life has been taken from me, yet again.”
“Do not forget Caitlin,” Xavier growls lowly, “They are both missing, perhaps they have escaped. We will punish the boy later, this reunion is coming to a quick end but we will talk later mother... I promise you that. Darrius and I have to find these girls. Both human, both weak. We don’t have much time.”
“I will find Maximus and get him to help us on this,” I add in, “He is busy with training Isobel, but that will have to be halted.”
“Count us in as well,” Claudia declares from next to Johnathan, they were not completely okay with each other yet but they were close to fixing the rift between them, “Johnathan and I will go as a team, together, out into the city and we can start scouting the streets.”
“May I remind you all, that there is a 24-hour lockdown on this palace!” The King interrupts our planning with a harsh tone, “I’m not breaking that rule.”
“Father,” Xavier turns to him and slowly approaches him, until they are almost nose to nose, “You will let us out of the palace to search for the princess and Caitlin. Caitlin has told me she knows how to fix the condition that her sister and Xeria, your wife, are plagued by. They are sick, they need help.”
The King pauses before proceeding to look suspicious as hell.
“What makes you think that girl knows anything?” he snarls this at Xavier menacingly while my mother gets more and more unsettled. She takes a wobbly step away from the King and I quickly rush over and put an arm around her waist to support her.
“Look how you still upset her when you lose your temper, do you not care how she will react?” Xavier goes for the low blow, glancing at our mother and then our father, “Do you even know what love is?”
“Of course I do,” The King instantly replies, but quickly changes the subject, “If Caitlin knows a cure... or you believe she does. You better go get her back,” he lets up a little bit of his resistance, grudgingly, “But I will only allow one person of your choosing to leave the palace until the lockdown is complete.”
"Why just one –?" Xavier snarls, only to be cut off by the King instantly.
“You know why,” The King looks all around the room and straightens his back, “Our royal power in this family can not be seen as shaky or undermined in any way. If I do not hold steady on my resolve, it’ll weaken our ability to govern this palace and the vampires and humans within it. Therefore, one person of your choosing can leave to find and return the girls. That is all I am willing to give. Once the 24 hours is up you can take the whole damn palace if you please, to search for them. But you will not question me again about this decision, understood?”
Xavier finally backs off, taking a step back from the King he looks at me and then Johnathan and Claudia.
“Let’s check the security footage,” Xavier announces.
It is then that the family reunion comes to an end. I place my mother gently down on the couch while Johnathan agrees to stay and look after the Queen while the King goes to oversee the palace.
The rest of us head to the camera room with the young vampire in tow. He nearly trips over his own nervous pace multiple times and I resort to grabbing his arm and dragging him along with us so he doesn’t slow us down.
Time was now of the essence; we didn’t have much left to find them.
Humans or not, many people out their wanted Jennifer dead. The threat of her blood was too great.
It was curious however, to note Caitlin’s absence. But there was a rumoured one-million-dollar reward on her head for whoever returned her to her parents, perhaps that is why she was taken also.
It isn’t long before we are facing all the screens which showed most of the palace. The young vampire hurries to bring up the footage of when Jennifer and Caitlin were kidnapped. As he is stumbling over the electronics with nervous fingers, trying to show us what he found... I inspect the live cameras now. I focus on the outside of the palace, the perimeters.
I then come to focus on the lobby of one of the apartment blocks that sat on top of the palace. My eyes focus there on a girl running, wearing a blue fancy dress, and her hair is a startling familiar blonde.
I can’t quite believe my eyes. But there she is.
“Caitlin is trying to get back into the palace, right now,” I point out calmly, pointing.
“The undercover vampires will stop her trying to enter the palace, I’ll go fetch her,” Xavier disappears from the room in seconds to go get Caitlin.
“One down, one to go,” Claudia says from next to me, “Jennifer can’t be too far off, Darrius. If Caitlin escaped, that’s a good sign.”
“But Jennifer isn’t with her, maybe she hasn’t escaped, she is still in grave danger,” I hiss.
“Maybe Caitlin can tell us where she is being held,” Claudia says reluctantly. I know why she hesitates.
Jennifer might not necessarily be alive. She could be dead.
There is a painful break in my chest when I consider that thought, so I quickly banish it from my heart and mind. If she was alive, thinking the worst wasn’t going to help.
I watch the cameras and I see Xavier quickly pick up Caitlin, right before they disappear from sight. A couple of minutes later there is a rush of air as Xavier uses his quick speed to come back to the camera room.
“I know where the princess is located, I questioned Caitlin and locked her in my room to interrogate her further later, but so far I have the information you need,” Xavier says sternly, holding my eye, “Jennifer was dropped off at the same building you were both kidnapped to last time. She should be alive, but Darrius... I barely infiltrated that place last time to save Jennifer for you. They have complicated devices to detect supernatural creatures. We’d be better sending a human to save her.” Xavier quickly looks to Claudia, who is already nodding in agreement.
“I was just about to volunteer,” she says with a grin, “I love a challenge –”
“No,” I cut her off, and her smile drops off her face, “I have to go save her, I failed to keep her safe. I’m also stronger than you. You’re too weak.”
“Last time, they planned your public execution Darrius,” she comes back at me instantly, “It’s too dangerous for you to go there. I am nothing and nobody to them, your face is too well known.”
“My pretty face huh?” I don’t know why I crack the joke but I needed to relieve the tension. Claudia smiles and Xavier just rolls his eyes.
“Well, what are we waiting for?” Claudia tilts her head from side to side, pretending to crack it, “I need to prepare a disguise and suit up with some weapons!”