Prey

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Secret's Within Plans

"Tell me about Liberty," Leanor said to Aric as they waited for her contacts to get back to her.

Henry and Emily had stepped out to retrieve Aric's car leaving him alone with his mother.

"I don't know how to describe her," he said, leaning forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "She unlike any human I've ever met."

"She's human?!" his mother spat, her eyes widening in shock.

"Yeah," he admitted, hanging his head.

"And you love her?" Leanor asked, her tone softening.

"I do," he nodded.

"And does she love you?" she pushed, trying to understand the situation.

"I don't know,"Aric sighed, his shoulders falling. "I thought she might, but she could have just been doing what she thought she had to to survive.

"She was after all my pet," he sniffed, "and I wasn't very nice to her at first.

"I told her to her face more than once that I didn't want her," he laughed mirthlessly. "It was true at first, but the more time I spent with her and saw how amazing and caring she was, I couldn't help but fall in love."

"Oh Aric," his mother said, reaching out to run her fingers through his disheveled hair.

"Did we miss something?" Emily asked, breaking up the sentimental moment as she and Henry entered the room.

"No," Leanor sniffed, wiping her eyes, "we were just planning."

"Have you heard anything?" Henry asked hopefully.

"Not yet," Lady Leanor said, moving to her desk. "It shouldn't be too much longer."

"So," Emily began, pausing to make sure Aric was actually okay. Seeing him nod she continued, "when we get the call, what do we do?"

"My allies have all grown tired of your fathers behavior," her mother explained, "they have offered their political support and soldiers if it comes to actual fighting."

"Do you think it will?" Aric asked, looking up. "Fighting I mean."

"I don't think so," Leanor sighed, looking up from the papers she was holding. "Your father's fighting days are far behind him. His life revolves around his twisted pleasures now."

"What happened," Aric questioned, interrupting his mother. "I mean, dad has always been a cruel, inhumane creature, but the last one hundred years he's taken it too far. What changed?"

Lady Leanor's posture changed at the question, her body going rigid.

"What?" Aric asked, seeing it.

"It was my fault," his mother replied, looking at the three younger vampires sadly.

"What do you mean 'your fault'?" Emily asked.

"You are not the first ones to try and take down your father," Lady Leanor sighed, knowing it was time to tell them the truth. "A hundred years ago I tried to poison him with werewolf blood.

"I had consulted several witches and sages on ways to weaken or kill him, and they all assured me werewolf blood would work," she told them. "Instead, it made him unhinged. He began seeing conspiracies all around him, which there were, and he decided to stamp them all out. He began with me."

"Why you?" Henry asked, speaking up from his seat on the sofa.

"Without me, Lord Lothaire's claim to the throne is weak, at best," she sighed. "He only holds onto it because of his connection to me."

"What?" Aric piped in, trying to follow her story.

"The throne is rightfully mine," she said, looking at the floor, "that's why he couldn't kill me only lock me away.

"Then why haven't you been in charge the whole time?" Emily demanded.

"When the throne came to me, vampiric law stated that no woman could rule without a consort," Leanor explained angrily. "That's the whole reason Lothaire married me in the first place. For the power."

"So what does that mean for you if we do manage to kill him?" Emily asked, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

"It means Aric would inherit," her mother replied.

All eyes turned to look at him as the meaning of her words sank in.

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